Monday, August 16, 2010

The Crazy Carb Adventure Continues with a Visit from my Long Lost Friend, Protein!

Since beginning the "Breads & Breakfasts" Chapter in "Savor the Moment," I have been looking forward to making the Monterey Jack Corn Bread with Basil and Roasted Peppers (pg. 91) - I mean, how delicious does that sound? Also, since this crazy carb adventure has wreaked a bit of havoc on the scale, I decided to pair this fabulous bread with something on the lighter side that involved my old friend, protein! The Barbecued Chicken with Mango Salsa (pg. 173) seemed to fit the bill with homemade BBQ sauce, fresh mango salsa and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Also, since the grill was already hot, we went with the Grilled Asparagus with Roasted Peppers (pg. 214) as well.

The Corn Bread is chock full of delicious flavors and textures including yellow cornmeal, buttermilk, Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños, fresh basil, corn kernels and chopped roasted red peppers. While the recipe was relatively straightforward, I have to report after baking it for the stated 45 minutes plus an additional 15 and getting a "clean" toothpick test I ended up with a bread that was uncooked and oozing in the middle. Disappointing, true but the edges were delicious and the silver lining of that cloud was that I wasn't left with an entire corn bread to snack on all week!

I have to admit I was a little wary of the Barbecued Chicken simply because when I think of Barbecued Chicken I don't think of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I think of plump, juicy, bone in chicken breasts, thighs and legs with the skin very much ON! Are you with me? But in the spirit of a healthier, lighter meal, I was willing to give it a try. In the interest of full disclosure though, I did add boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

The Mango Salsa is a fabulous blend of mango, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño and  lime juice that I simply adored! I would definitely make this to go with other grilled fish or chicken dishes or just to enjoy with tortilla chips - delicious! The sauce for the chicken was also very good,  calling for crushed tomatoes, mango, vinegar, sugar and chipotle chile in adobo sauce. Chipotles are smoked jalapeño peppers and adobo (Spanish for "sauce, seasoning or marinade") is a blend of tomato puree, garlic, vinegar, salt and spices. They are extremely flavorful and gave a delicious, spicy punch to the Barbecue Sauce. Once grilled, the heat of the chicken was nicely offset by the chilled Mango Salsa. I'm sorry to report I forgot to top the chicken with the salsa for the photo but trust me, it is awesome!

The Grilled Asparagus with Roasted Peppers came from the kitchen of 32 East, Delray Beach's hallowed dining establishment. This recipe also involves one of my favorite culinary tasks, roasting peppers! I sliced the peppers in half lengthwise and put the halves skin side up on a baking sheet under the broiler. This way you don't have to worry about turning them and there's no mess trying to roast them over your gas burner. Once sufficiently charred, I popped them in a bag and gave them some time for the skins to loosen. For the asparagus, I could only find the thin, wimpy kind, so I didn't bother blanching them before grilling - a very good decision. Once the peppers were peeled and chopped they are incorporated into a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley and Dijon mustard - yummy! The dressing is then spooned over the hot, grilled asparagus which is then finished with shaved Parmesan Cheese.

This meal was an interesting blend of delicious flavors and it was nice to enjoy a dish with protein again! I have included the recipe for the Monterey Jack Corn Bread with Basil and Roasted Peppers. Be sure to bake it long enough so you, too, are not left with an undercooked center! I hope you enjoy and please don't forget to savor the moment.


Monterey Jack Corn Bread with Basil and Roasted Peppers
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
 1 cup chopped onion
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
 1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
 1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños
1 1/3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed, drained
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute for 10 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature.
Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the chilled butter and rub with fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Whisk the buttermilk and eggs in a medium bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until blended. Mix in the cheese, corn, bell peppers, basil and sauteed onion.
Pour into a greased 9x9-inch baking pan, Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Cut into squares.
Note: The bread can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead. Cool completely, cover loosely with foil and store at room temperature. If desired, rewarm bread for 10 minutes at 350 degrees before serving.
Serves twelve


  1. Stephanie, thank you for stopping by! This cornbread recipe looks and sounds delicious. I am going to have to try it. Love chili and nothing goes better with it than cornbread. I am following you now too! :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Your cornbread recipe looks delicious. I love all of your flavorful additions- thanks!

  3. Your cornbread recipe looks delish...HHL

  4. OMG, that cornbread sounds fantastic! Thanks so much visiting my site! I'm now following you too!

  5. Hi Stephanie
    Your dishes always sound and look so delicious.
    Great combination, I would have the lot.
    Have a great week ♥

  6. What a wonderful site with my 2 favourite things France and Food - As good as it gets!
    must try your corn-bread recipe it looks delicious.

  7. Stephanie, I just love cornbread and yours definitely sounds better than the average cornbread. Love the add-ins. I love wine too but know nothing about it (except I like it, lol). It must be nice knowing what wine to have with what meal. Thank you for stopping by my blog and following me. I'm following you back! Looking forward to taking some time and checking out all your delicious recipes.

  8. I usually read my blogs 1st thing. Once I get to you all I can think about is going to the grocery & getting all the ingredients for whatever you're making that day. Love it. xx's

  9. Well, yum...I happen to have thawed chicken for dinner tonight...I'll give this a try. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I'm also going to be following you. See you in blog world...come by any time. I just published a new post a bit ago. Cherry Kay

  10. Thanks for checking out my blog, yours looks amazing too! And clearly great minds think alike; I just post some cornbread last month, and we both know there is nothing like a good cornbread. ;) Cant wait to see more recipes!

  11. Cornbread with goodies tucked into the batter is the best - pairing it with BBQ is the perfect summer meal!

  12.'s never been in my habit to seek cornbread type recipes. The fact that you put cheese in it might just have gotten my attention enough to one day try this out ;o)

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

    P.S. I have very fond memories of my time in Delray beach area...very charming.

  13. I like what you're doing with cheese here, m'dear! And the fresh basil sounds like a great addition. When it cools off, I'll have to whip up a batch of this. Cheers!

  14. This looks awesome! I have plenty of basil that needs usin before it goes to seed.

    You have such a collection of recipes~ great job!

  15. I have to say, every component of this meal sounds excellent! you did a great job pairing the cornbread with the mango bbq chicken. I could SO go for a huge hunk of cornbread right now...mmmm.


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